Praising our Land, Honoring our Ancestors

One of our students overjoyed with her beautiful face painting design at the Harvest Festival.

One of our students overjoyed with her beautiful face painting design at the Harvest Festival.

To the left our Hoover staff, Neeka, face painting a student with a sugar skull design.

To the left our Hoover staff, Neeka, face painting a student with a sugar skull design.

Tis a season of pumpkin carving and ancestor honoring! For this year's Harvest Festival at Hoover Elementary School, our ArtEsteem Art Mobile paid the Hoover community a visit, providing face painting and calavera mask-making. The Art Esteem Art Mobile themed its art activities after the Dia de los Muertos tradition that a great number of the Hoover community culturally-practice.

Students gathered by the dozens as everyone waited patiently, and eagerly, to get their face painted in the resemblance of sugar skull-inspired designs. With the help of Hoover staff, and even Hoover students themselves, packs of students left joyfully with beautiful designs on their faces. 

While face painting seemed to be the hot ticket, the calavera mask-making was a great success in itself, churning out over a 150 completed projects! The participating students got a glimpse of some of the many methods to creating their own calavera. 

In center our staff, Eduardo, facilitating a calavera mask making lesson.

In center our staff, Eduardo, facilitating a calavera mask making lesson.


October 27, 2018 the AHC team was invited by the magnificent Chris Chatmon, Founding Executive Director for African American Male Achievement (AAMA), to serve our young black and brown kings of the Bay Area for this year's Man-Up Conference held in Oakland's Metwest High School. 

The AAMA's Man-Up Conference's main focus was to strengthen and build African American male students in Oakland and beyond in not only academia, but in life itself. It was a great honor for AHC to have been invited to their space to provide our services and love to the whole AAMA family. 

Watch the video below to catch a glimpse of the fully engaged group of young men at the conference constructing paper tool boxes. These tool boxes were filled with paper cut-outs of symbols that signify and represent various spiritual ideas and characteristics such as: strength, wisdom, courage, love for God, etc. The cut-outs that these young men either possess, honor, or value were then glued onto the toolbox to express what means most to them.

With more than 20 big brothers and big sisters present, our young people did not leave the conference without knowing that we had their back the whole way through.



Since its official release, our ArtEsteem Artmobile has been out and about hitting the Oakland and San Francisco streets, making appearances at city events, festivals, school sites, parks, and Oakland City Hall. Our active presence in and around Oakland is expanding and we are ecstatic to finally be mobile and ready to make an appearance at a space near you!

Being personally invited to Oakland’s biggest and most popular events, the ArtEsteem ArtMobile has been the center of attention. Fully equipped with a sound system, four mobile art tables and an impressive collection of art materials and tools, we have been able to provide an average of three different art activities at every event we’ve been booked for.

Attending one of West Oakland’s First Fridays provided us with the opportunity to reaffirm our presence in the community by offering stencil-making services for our community members.

Pictured to the left, our Executive Assistant, Eddie, provides some art pointers to some of West Oakland’s brightest and most creative youth.

Pictured to the left, our Executive Assistant, Eddie, provides some art pointers to some of West Oakland’s brightest and most creative youth.


In the image above, WOLLP student, Noel, pictured in the black head scarf, channels her energy to pull out a very large weed with the help of Environmental Instructor, Neeka, pictured in the overalls.

In the image above, WOLLP student, Noel, pictured in the black head scarf, channels her energy to pull out a very large weed with the help of Environmental Instructor, Neeka, pictured in the overalls.

Every Tuesday, our West Oakland Legacy students have an opportunity to work their designated plot of land, converted into a garden, at City Slickers Farms. There, our students learn basic farming practices and environmental studies. Our Environmental Studies Instructor, Neeka, formulates a weekly lesson plan that highlights the interrelation of human health with that of our lands. By developing and tending to the garden, the students learn about the beauty of the agricultural process which includes: the preparation of the soil, sowing, adding manure and fertilizers, irrigation, harvesting and storage.

On this particular Tuesday, WOLLP’s lesson plan was dubbed ‘Heart-in-a-basket’, where each student anonymously wrote on a piece of paper something difficult they were currently experiencing. These entries were then read aloud, discussed and reflected upon by the group. By introducing different healing and calming mechanisms to help in moments of anger, sorrow, fear, anxiety, and the like, WOLLP recognizes that our youth are experiencing a lot in their lives and it is essential that we collectively create a safe and supportive space.

This activity helps students to understand the complexity of their friends’ lives; create empathy by getting a glimpse at their circumstances; get something off their chest that they might be holding in; feel what it’s like to be safe after sharing something personal; and guides them to recognize the importance of being a good friend and community member.

CSCE Students Plant Fruit Trees at a Community Garden Day

AHC's Community School For Creative Education (CSCE) Extended Day Program partnered with Growing Together to plant 7 new Fruit Trees in our garden! With the hard work of 30 students across 1st-5th grade we successfully planted a tangerine, lemon, pineapple guava, elderberry, persimmon, pear, and apple tree.


We are so grateful to the Growing Together team for bringing trees, supplies, and amazing teachers to facilitate an extra special day where students learned about the many benefits of trees and what they each need to grow and thrive. We will be enjoying the fruits of our labor here at CSCE for years to come!


Street Academy Students Learn The Ins and Outs of Running an Art Gallery.

Students learned about Art as a form of activism: conveying social and political messaging for justice movements, and art as a tool for expression and therapy.  Mentors in the various galleries and studios we visited shared about the different roles within the art field (artist, gallery owner, curator, framer, architect, activist). 


Students also learned about the merging of art, science and design for projects taking place in Oakland where air quality, accessibility and environment are taken into consideration as part of the design process.  We met with two professional artists who talked about their art and messages within the work such as homage to ancestors, expressing solidarity with the #metoo, Black Lives Matter, affordable housing and Indigenous rights movements. 


Students were engaged and participated in the various environments through dialogue and interaction with exhibits, some expressed it was their first time going to a gallery space.  This field trip served as inspiration as students return to the classroom and continue to build their art creations for the upcoming Annual ArtEsteem Exhibition on May 12, 2018.

Oakland Super Heroes Mural 4 is Here!

We are thrilled to announce the completion of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural #4! 


Located on West St. at 35th St. under the I-580 freeway, we celebrated this magnificent unveiling last Friday with the help of Creative Originator Amana Harris and our beautiful crew of guest speakers: Art Director David Burke, Lead Artists Lindsey Millikan, California State Senator Nancy Skinner, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, District 3 Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney, OUSD Representative Jamoke Hinton Hodge, Caltrans District Director Bijan Sartipi, Hoover Elementary Principal Ashley Martin, and the Hoover ArtEsteem Youth Leadership students! 


Two full years in the making, the completion of this piece of public art truly feels like a triumph for the community. "We're standing in front of the amazing product of your hard work, patience, and above all persistence." David Burke told the group of beaming Hoover students sitting front row, "It is my hope is that when you have children that are your age, you will be able to bring them back here and show them this wall and tell them you were apart of this." A collaborative effort, approximately 50 young people participated in Attitudinal Healing Connection's Self as Super Hero curriculum, collectively reinvented themselves as super heroes who possessed the powers to solve what they saw as their communities most pressing issues. From there, the AHC team merged the inspirations generated from the students into the mural design you see represented today featuring the Super Heroes: Debow Jalapeño, Fantastic Girl, Golden Boy, Lava Queen, and Lava Boy. With the help of our talented Mural Artist Team and the after-school dedication of students, this vision became a colorful, bright, and inspired reality. 


Even the legal setbacks we faced making this mural turned out to be a surprise learning experience for the students, who were immediately mobilized into action writing letters to leaders in their community. This collective effort and the support we received from the AHC network showed students what a small but powerful group of individuals can accomplish when they unify together in civic action. As Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney reminded us at the ceremony, we are "Love-alutionaries" (love and revolutionary) and it is love that is the ultimate healing force.


A visual and public manifestation of the work AHC has been conducting over the past three decades, we invite you to visit this beautiful new addition to our home and, if you love what you see, donate now to support Mural #5.

OSH Mural 4 Hoover Leaders Event Friday 11/3

It’s been almost a two-year process since AHC first engaged Hoover elementary students in the Self as Super Hero curriculum. These young people collectively reinvented themselves as super heroes to creatively solve some of our community’s biggest problems. Two 3rd grade classes, an approximate 50 kids, with the help of teachers Ms. Lau and Ms. Lynch spent weeks in small groups and developed 8 Super Hero characters. From there, with the help of Creative Originator Amana Harris, Art Director David Burke and Lead Artist Lindsey Millikan, the characters were merged into 5: Debow Jalapeno, Fantastic Girl, Golden Boy, Lava Queen and Lava Boy.  

When Caltrans put a stop to the approval of mural #4 due to legal constraints, these young people were relentless in writing letters to our assembly members Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmon; Senator Nancy Skinner; Mayor Libby Schaaf, and the leaders of Caltrans. It was Senator Nancy Skinner that took their complaints to the next level. She was appalled and didn’t stop until victory and justice prevailed. This process was a beneficial learning experience for our young leaders and a gift in many ways.


On November 3, 2017 we celebrated the mural approval and the launch of OSH Mural # 4. At the gathering, the group stood below the hanging life-size paintings, which have been gracing the walls of Hoover library since 2016. Under the leadership of ArtEsteem Program Manager Christina Samuelson, the Hoover ArtEsteem Youth leaders are in their second year in the leadership program. AHC knew that it would be essential to keep the group strategically involved to have the opportunity to see the project through. AHC’s ArtEsteem program has worked with Hoover students to understand the vital importance of advocacy, the power of civic engagement, and the complexities of city and state processes for public art.

For 2017 Hoover ArtEsteem Youth Leaders attended an exhibit of one of their Super Hero paintings at the California Museum in Sacramento in the Unity Center. In addition, they visited the Sacramento Capitol House, made trips to City Hall, and will soon make walking  fieldtrips down the street to participate in the painting of this transformative artwork.

The project is due to start the week of November 27th! Look out for the AHC team of children artists as we embark upon another effort to bring beauty into the community. Let’s give an applause for our outstanding leaders for their patience, tenacity, vision and hope for their community. They are an inspiration for us all! 

Join us in this effort! Donate Now!


West Oakland Legacy Project Update


Our thoughts and hearts go out to those most affected by the North Bay Wildfires. Due to Air quality in our area we’ve moved our classes indoors until there is significant improvement.



On Tuesdays We are getting familiar with the West Oakland Farm park and making yummy meals that we harvest on site. We are also feeding the chickens, weeding, making compost, watering plants, harvesting and planting. We recently took down the snap pea trellis and planted a cover-crop to prepare the soil for the next growing season.



Thank you for supporting AHC and attending our open house September 14th The event was a hit! In September we made our own sketchbooks and we’re getting acquainted with the elements of art and design while learning to utilize drawing tools like charcoal and ink. This past week we watched part one of “Race: the Power of an Illusion” as part of an intensive workshop focused on demystifying the origins of race and the way this affects our daily lives, fueling preconceptions about ourselves and others, educational institutions and more. The Attitudinal Healing principle, “Perception is a mirror of what is in our minds,” guided our dialogue around stereotypes and prejudice. We are continuing to build drawing skills and will be helping design the AHC Artmobile! Stay tuned for updates.



Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project

Caltrans blockade released after advocacy, resolution, and agreement.


After months of advocacy, Hoover elementary students will celebrate their triumph with city and state leaders at their school. Caltrans and local non-profit Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) have finally come to an agreement. 

The project stood at a halt for nearly a year, not only affecting projects led by AHC but many artists and agencies across the state. When Senator Nancy Skinner and other policymakers received letters from the children pleading their case, the Senator didn’t stand by. For months she urged Caltrans leadership to figure out a way to move the project forward. Caltrans District Director Bijan Sartipi became an ally and put pressure on his team. The city of Oakland and Caltrans are finalizing their maintenance agreement which is the final step. The Maintenance agreement will go to City Council on November 7th and the project aims to begin November 27th.  Hoover students will soon understand how their advocacy set the stage for new agreements and policies that will have long-lasting effects for art that beautifies the bleak walls of our state highways.

Hoover students will end 2017 knowing that their voice matters and that they can impact policy leaders and their community. Fifth-grader Angelly exemplified this spirit in her letter to Caltrans: "It is important for the community to recognize elementary students' work. We work hard to plan. We are very enthusiastic about this. We need your approval because we really want to inspire others and maybe others will inspire others. We are bright students and we can do it!"

Although challenging, the legal struggle that beset osh Mural 4 and its resolution through activism and grassroots support is a heartening example of the power of people to change their world and making it a brighter and more colorful place.

The students of the Hoover youth leadership group created the concepts behind the superheroes that will be featured in the upcoming mural design.  AHC and the students were highlighted in the California Museum in Sacramento.  Because of their activism they were visited by Senator Nancy Skinner and were invited to tour the capital house and see the exhibit there that featured their work.